After suffering from the almost fatal Sanctuary Force shower, this time around was the normal level of which Kieran had quite the immunity against already.
It wasn't that it didn't hurt anymore, but Kieran has gotten a little use to the stinging sensation.
While being showered by the light force, Kieran turned around and looked at the figure behind him.
Although there were footsteps, the figure was nothing but a visible projection. The upper body was clear but the lower part was only half visible, yet it didn't feel like a haunting spirit.
That projection's reaction time was similar to a real person. When the projection caught Kieran's gaze, he gave Kieran a direct reply.
"Well done. Congratulations, you've passed the trial."
Smulder's projection clapped his hands while he commemorated Kieran for his successful run but his tone was very cold.
Still, regardless of how cold Smulder's tone was, the system notification came up after.
[Main Mission 1: Complete the Holy Knight Trials within 1 week. (Completed)]
Kieran looked at Smulder's projection and laughed coldly.
"Passed the trials? I am the one with the devil's bloodline and yet I've become a Holy Knight? It sounds so outrageous! Or was it From the very beginning, this so called trials was just a trap, a lure attract those other parties with ulterior intentions, attracting all of your enemies in one place!" Kieran confronted Smulder.
"You are really something different!" Smulder didn't deny.
"Of course! I am the main bait after all! If without me, the assistant of the God of Earth, how would you, the boorish man that envies Nikorei so much can carry out your plans specifically targeted to me?"
While Kieran had pieces of clues before this but after Black Hound spilled all the information when he lost himself in his self-excitement, Kieran could see the big picture now and got the general idea of what was going on.
Kieran didn't know what Smulder initial plans were but with his appearance on the island, Smulder altered his plans by placing Kieran at the center.
Smulder purposely enlarged his jealousy towards Nikorei and led everyone else to believe that his actions were to vent his anger towards her assistant, even to go as far as conducting a Holy Knight trial just for Kieran alone.
The so called Holy Knight trial really existed but definitely not the one Kieran had just cleared.
This trial was just a huge gamble, or more precisely Smulder was using this trial to exterminate the mole within and those who had their eyes on Sanctuary.
It wasn't hard for Kieran to picture how overjoyed those with ulterior motives were after hearing the arrogant suggestion from Smulder stating that he would be "teaching Nikorei's assistant a lesson and exterminate outer and inner threats along the way".
They would think the chances that they had been waiting for so long had finally arrived.
Some pawns would start to appear from either the light and the dark side, posing as fake trial-goers.
Just like Kieran speculated before, these trial-goers had their own hidden agendas, they were here to acquire profit in times of trouble and not the really qualified candidates.
Thus, resulting in all sorts of unusual events during the trials.
As for Schmidt, he was also part of Smulder's plan.
Smulder wanted everything to look real and only by including the innocent Schmidt, he could fool those trial-goers and the parties behind them, misleading them to believe he himself had lost his mind over jealousy.
Smulder's plans were successful so far without a doubt. Kieran was sure that some of Smulder's targets had fallen into his trap without noticing.
The projection gaze over Kieran as if he was meeting Kieran for the first time, sizing him up in details.
Then projection then laughed.
"Seems like you've gotten quite a bit of information from Black Hound. Though, none of that matters. The mystery will eventually be revealed, just that I never thought that a guy who transplanted the heart of the devil into himself didn't even die because of the blood rejection and still could remain as sane. Should I say it's expected of Nikorei's assistant that your brain was not replaced by magma?"
Smulder's projection shook his head, looking unconceivable.
Though, before Kieran could utter a reply, he continued in an ordering manner.
"Stay here quietly and wait for things to pass!"
Smulder's projection then vanished without giving Kieran any chance to speak.
Almost two seconds after Smulder vanished, footsteps could be heard again.
It was a familiar one. It was Schmidt!
The adorable chief officer kept his promise with Kieran and approach the forked path carefully.
After he saw Kieran in once piece, he let out a breath of relief but when he saw Kieran's condition, his breath of relief was stuck in his throat.
"2567, are you okay?"
"Wait, is this guy that powerful?"
Schmidt asked nervously and he glanced over the pile of minced meat on the ground with a sense of dread in his eyes.
He could tell that the deformed body was treated with utmost violence before he died and from the only intact foot beside, he could tell the deformed body was certainly Black Hound.
However, Schmidt looked a little unbelievable that Black Hound could cause so much damage to Kieran.
"He is not strong at all, it's just the special environment here." Kieran explained.
"That "light"?" Schmidt reacted quickly to Kieran's words.
"More precisely, it's the Sanctuary Force. I don't know how that Smulder bastard did it but when the real battle starts, the Sanctuary Force shouldn't appear anymore. But we have to leave this place immediately just to be safe." Kieran corrected Schmidt's words.
"Sure! But can you tell me what is going on? I'm scratching my head on this." Schmidt said while expressing to help Kieran up.
Kieran rejected it with a wave of hand.
Without the Sanctuary Force dealing continuous damage, his A+ Constitution plus the healing from [Mardos Arm, Soul Devour II], the rest of the damage were just mere scratches for him.
"I've only gotten the information from Black Hound before this. Well, to put it in a simple way, this Holy Knight trial that we are in right now is nothing more than Smulder's trap. I am the bait and you are the spice to make the bait looks tasty."
"Now, those parties with ulterior motives that were eyeing Sanctuary fell into Smulder's trap, so he is eagerly waiting to collect the net!" Kieran explained.
"So this is what's going on!" Schmidt nodded his head slowly. The expression on his face was weird, it was like mixing fortunate and helplessness together.
He was fortunate that the Holy Knight trials weren't as unbearable; he was helpless that the trials has turned into a huge plan to trap others.
What about the Sanctuary? Was it still as admirable as Boller said it was?
The thoughts in Schmidt's heart of justice made him sigh heavily.
"Stories are always the best right!" Schmidt said.
"Because they've been beautified countless times!" Kieran said before heading back to where he came from. Schmidt followed tightly.
Though before the two of them reached the entrance, a loud rumble sound from afar.
The water like darkness has disappeared, what replaced it was the rough and thick wall.
The entrance was sealed off!
The trial was actually a hoax. Smulder and his confusing plan... I hate him...